Coal demand in emerging market and developing economies was the biggest driver in global emissions growth

Coal has contributed by far the most to the increase of global CO2 emissions in the post-pandemic era. Global emissions from energy combustion have increased by around 850 Mt since 2019; those from coal have grown by 900 Mt, gas emissions have increased moderately, and oil emissions are still slightly below their 2019 level.

Coal accounted for around 70% of the increase in global emissions from energy combustion in 2023 (+270 Mt). China and India saw substantial increases in emissions from coal combustion, only partially offset by declines in advanced economies. Oil emissions were pushed up by the reopening in China and in global aviation, increasing by around 95 Mt globally. Natural gas emissions increased only marginally at the global level.

Change in CO2 emissions by fuel and region, 2022-2023


At the sector level, transport experienced the most pronounced growth in emissions, surging by nearly 240 Mt globally. The power sector contributed the second largest increase and shows the highest level of regional disparity, as emissions in advanced economies collapsed while those in emerging market and developing economies soared. Industrial emissions saw a slight uptick, as the combination of moderately weaker industrial output, efficiency gains, and fuel switching in advanced economies was insufficient to counterbalance the emissions increase from industrial development in emerging market and developing economies. Buildings was the only sector to see emissions fall at the global level, largely attributable to milder temperatures experienced in 2023.

Change in CO2 emissions from combustion by sector and region, 2022-2023